It is often hard to be bullish on the precious metal miners during the summer doldrums as the price action tends to be less than encouraging. But this time around, these miners have held up very well, in addition to some exciting news coming from the complex. Yes there's excitement over Newmont's (NYSE:NEM) Boddington mine and the outright ownership it aquired, but that isn't the only news worth a mention.
I'm referring to Goldcorp's (NYSE:GG) Penasquito Mine, and its July 13th press release of the construction of its first sulphide process mine which is targeted to commence production of concentrate in the latter half of the year.This also puts Penasquito's ramp-up period ahead of schedule after which time it is projected to produce 30m ounces of silver annually. This not only marks a historic time for Goldcorp, but also Silver wheaton who will recieve approx 7.5m oz of silver at an average cost of $3.90/oz (subject to an annual increase of 1% for inflation) for the life of the mine, which currently stands at 22 years. High quality mines such as this often undershoot their original production targets for the sake of being conservative. It is in my humble opinion that Goldcorp with produce closer to 40m oz of silver when it reaches full production, thus giving Silver Wheaton (NYSE:SLW) 10m oz a year in silver.
Although I have and still am bullish on Silver Wheaton, the previous projection comes not out of optimism but rather out of precedents from numerous other world class mines. Likewise, I think this holds true for Goldcorp as I think they will easily move past their current projections of production at 100% capacity. As commercial production will commence is less than 6 months, I expect full production to be achieved sometime in 2011 (give or take). All in all, although this has been expected for some time, nothing is guaranteed in the mining industry thus making this accomplishment worth a mention.
Disclosure: Long SLW